Shawnee Mission West has won four consecutive games after a 1-2 start this season, but the Vikings face their toughest test when they play host to rival SM East at 7 tonight in a Sunflower League showdown. The Star goes four quarters with SM West senior Jay Temaat, who scored 29 points on Tuesday in a 55-53 victory over Olathe Northwest.
Q. Considering that you turned 18 years old on Thursday, what do you want for your birthday?
A. “To beat SM East, for sure. Tuesday was a pretty good early birthday present, but beating East would be really nice. We won by two points against Olathe Northwest, but playing East is a bigger game for us.”
Q. SM West coach Mike Brinsko, who is retiring after the season, needs 18 wins to reach 700 in his career, and you guys could potentially play 18 more games. Feel any pressure?
A. “Of course, we all want to win every game we have left, but we’re more worried about getting better as a team so we can reach state. Our coach is not a selfish person, so he’s worried about the team first and not himself. But if I was a coach, I would want to get to 700. That’s quite an accomplishment.”
Q. How excited are you for next week’s stacked field in the Vikings Classic, which includes BV North, Blue Springs South and Rockhurst?
A. “We’re underdogs in just about every game, so we’re looking forward to it. When we play big-time teams, we love those games. It’s a chance to prove ourselves. We want to try to do what our football team did. They put a sign up on the tennis court that says 6A state champs, and I see it every time I walk in and out of school. We all want that.”
Q. With a 5-2, record does SM West get the respect it deserves?
A. “I personally do not think we have respect yet. A lot of people only look at last season and what happened there. But we’re a different team and a better team. Guys are more committed and we have more team chemistry.”
| Tod Palmer, email@example.com
By the Numbers
3 New SM South Athletics Hall of Fame inductions tonight at halftime of the boys game against SM Northwest, which will be carried live on Metro Sports. Karen Bunag Diener (1980), Dede Lawless Bien (1981) and Greg Gurley (1991) will be recognized.
8 Current winning streak for the Park Hill South girls basketball team. After losing its second game of the season to Smithville, the Panthers have recorded eight straight victories behind a balanced lineup that features only one player — Madeline Homoly — averaging double digits in scoring, and she’s at an even 10 points per game. Jessica Lee (9.9 points), Samantha Roy (9.4) and Morgan Keesee (7.8) give Park Hill South plenty of options on the floor.
22.6 Average margin of victory for the Truman girls basketball team this season. The Patriots figured to be good this season, but they’ve been just plain dominant and are 12-0. They have won 10 of the 12 games by double digits.
500 Coaching wins for Ed Fritz, who reached the milestone Saturday in Blue Valley Northwest’s 57-52 win against De La Salle (Minn.) at the 2013 Timberwolves Shootout at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Games to Watch
Blue Springs South at Rockhurst: In the championship of the McDonald’s Tournament, Blue Springs South was able to handle Rockhurst’s pressure for an 18-point victory. But the Hawklets have upped their game since that Dec. 8 meeting and enter tonight’s matchup on an eight-game winning streak behind leading scorer Kyle Wolf.
Mill Valley girls at Bonner Springs: When the dust settles between John McFall’s visiting Jaguars and Clay Oakes’ Braves tonight, the winner will have taken control of the Kaw Valley League race. Mill Valley, 5-1, and Bonner Springs, 7-1, are the last two unbeaten teams in league play. Last season, the teams split two one-point games.
St. Thomas Aquinas girls at Bishop Miege: On paper, host Miege seems overmatched coming off a 25-point loss to BV North, which unbeaten Aquinas beat Dec. 6, and an overtime win against Blue Valley. But records don’t always matter when Miege meets the rival Saints. Missouri State-bound senior Lexi Hughes will need a fantastic effort to lead the Stags past Rick Hetzel’s deep, talented crew.
The Star’s Tod Palmer and Sam McDowell contributed to this report.
Tod Palmer, <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>